Beginning September 11, Scandinavia House will host a virtual cinema presentation of the new documentary Army of Lovers in the Holy Land.
Thirty years after the hit Swedish queer disco-pop band Army of Lovers launched into international stardom, its frontman, Jean-Pierre Barda, embarks on a new chapter when he uproots his existence to move from Sweden to Israel. In this new documentary examining home, identity, family, and the pull of Aliyah (immigration to Israel), director Asaf Galay joins Barda alongside his journey at the age 50, while Army of Lovers (a blend of ABBA, the B-52s and performance art) continues to rock pride celebrations and underground club parties with its mix of high camp, daring music videos and a motto of “More is more, less is a bore.”
Exploring why Barda’s Jewish identity has pulled him towards a change — even while co-members Alexander Bard and Dominika Peczynski remain his true family, after a lifetime spent in Sweden — the documentary follows the salt-and-pepper-haired charmer as he gives up his luxurious apartment and fashionable clothes to settle into rollerblading through the streets of Tel Aviv, meeting passionate Israeli men, and enjoying hummus in the backyard. But is that enough for a former pop star?
In looking at the seeming paradox of Barda’s identity — flamboyant, philosophical and religious all at once — the film explores what it means to never doubt oneself.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Asaf Galay is an acclaimed international film director, with a passion for stories on Jewish subjects that illuminate the human condition. His most recent documentaries include Army of Lovers in the Holy Land (2018) and The Adventures of Saul Bellow (for 2020 broadcast on American Masters).
His film The Hebrew Superhero (2015) was described by Tablet magazine as “supremely entertaining,” on the subject of comics in Israel. The Muses of Bashevis Singer (2014) opened the New York Jewish Film Festival, and his feature film on the Israeli poet Nathan Alterman (Sentimentality Allowed, 2012), is used in schools throughout Israel.
In addition to his acclaimed film and television career, Galay is a museum curator at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum for the Jewish People located in Tel Aviv. He is head curator of exhibits on Bob Dylan (Forever Young), Jewish Humor (Laughing at History), Jewish fashion designers (Dream Weavers), and Amy Winehouse (Amy Winehouse – A Family Portrait).